Supply chains are lengthening, globally. Data is disparate, across time zones and across languages.
In the continuum of getting things from here to there, planes, trains and automobiles come into play — sometimes through a combination of the three.
Connectivity is key, and so is collaboration. For both, digital is desirable, offering a reliable portrait of how progress is progressing, or not, through software platforms and data sharing.
In an announcement earlier this month, HERE Technologies developers, in tandem with its pact with SAP, began working with the latter’s software to integrate location and tracking functions into SAP’s Global Track and Trace solution.
The goal, the companies said in a release, was to track goods across a supply chain — indoors, outdoors and across modalities. Multiple modalities tie in with goods being shipped across at least two methods of transports, such as rail or road.
Tracking data is collected by the HERE Open Location Platform and becomes available to logistic planners and supply chain managers through integration with SAP Global Track and Trace (GTT). HERE and SAP will offer logistic planners and supply chain managers integrated control and user experience in applications such as SAP Transportation Management.
Functions include fleet routing based on real time and predicted traffic patterns.
In an interview with Victor van Dinten, director of Strategic Alliances at HERE Technologies, the executive said that the combination of the HERE and SAP offerings means that the firms’ customers “benefit from having one single contract and point of contact and reduced complexity.”
The executive stated that HERE Tracking can also work well with devices that don’t even have a satellite (GPS/GNSS) receiver, as it works across Wi-Fi/cellular or Bluetooth Low Energy. Developers determine which positioning technologies to use, he told PYMNTS.
Here, the “last mile” is one that goes beyond delivery. The executive said that by providing indoor tracking, HERE “can track inside” a building or factory. For large factory settings, he said “this is a game-changer, providing trusted indoor location to companies so items/deliveries are never misplaced within the building.” In those situations, misplacement can be akin to lost inventory, as employees have to spend potentially weeks in million-square-foot facilities trying to chase an item down. “HERE tracking provides the real-time location and thereby far more exact last-mile ETA calculations.”
Future endeavors, the companies said in the release, include HERE integrating SAP Vehicles Network into its product offering with a focus on parking solutions, allowing for navigation to the most convenient parking spaces and/or gas stations. "Payments through credit cards, fleet accounts and online payment methods like Apple are supported. SAP offers integration with Concur (SAP subsidiary), the world’s largest expense claim solution,” with data directly integrated into back-office functions. Beyond those functions, the companies are also collaborating on blockchain use cases through SAP’s Co-Innovation program.